"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Making Butter

I made butter today. A by product of all the milk we bring in is a surfeit of cream. You can only eat so many scones or pancakes with cream before you will explode so we turn the rest into butter. The process is simple enough. Save the cream from your milkings for a week or so. The oldest should not have soured yet and the youngest should be at least forty-eight hours old. Cream that is too young will not turn and too old will give you sour butter. Actually sour butter is quite nice if you like sour cream. Keep in mind that it is completely different from rancid butter. Rancid butter is only good to make ghee. Butter will go rancid if it has not been properly washed or if it is exposed to too much air and warmth.
So you put your cream into a churn.
It must be at around twenty degrees Celsius or it will not turn. Too cold and you will just make whipped cream. Too warm and it will go off rapidly. Shown on the right is the old daisy churn I use for small quantities. For anything upwards of four litres I use our industrial mixer.
If your cream is at the right temperature and age it should turn, or come, in about ten minutes. You will feel a difference in the pressure as you turn and then see globules of butter floating in buttermilk. Keep turning for another two minutes as this will help drive the buttermilk out and firm up the butter. Then turn it out onto a wet board, butter won't stick to a wet surface. You might like to save the buttermilk. It makes the best pancakes.

Now using your wet "scotch hands" or butter pats you knead the butter to get all of the buttermilk out of it. Wash it with cold water periodically and keep kneading. It is absolutely essential to get all of the buttermilk out at this stage or your butter will go rancid much more easily. When no more buttermilk or water can be squeezed out of it, spread it out to be salted.
Now I know some folks prefer unsalted butter but salted butter will keep better, plus if you don't want salt in your butter you can just wash it out. Use however much salt you like to taste. If you find it too salty, wash some out. I would have used about a tablespoon on the amount above. Mix the salt in well and then pack your butter into airtight containers. I like to store it in the freezer where it will keep indefinitely.

No comments:

Post a Comment